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Former TT chief insists return to Athens was voluntary

Angelos Filippidis (left) is escorted to a court in Athens by a plainclothes police officer (right) on Wednesday for his arraignment.

Angelos Filippidis, the former chairman of Hellenic Postbank (TT) who faces charges of fraud and money laundering, was in custody at the Athens police headquarters on Wednesday following his return to Greece from Istanbul, where he was arrested on an international warrant last month.

The former bank chief, who was detained at Athens International Airport early on Wednesday, insisted to reporters that he returned to Greece of his own free will. But the Greek Foreign Ministry and judicial sources said he was deported.

Kathimerini understands that Interpol informed Greek authorities shortly after midnight on Tuesday that Filippidis would be arriving in Athens in the next few hours.

Judicial officials indicated that Turkish officials had decided to deport Filippidis despite a decision by a Turkish court on Monday to reject the first of two Greek requests for the former banker’s extradition, as they did not want to be held responsible if he fled the country.

Filippidis insisted that he returned voluntarily, even showing Greek reporters a document – handwritten and not stamped by any authority – in which he states his intention to return to Greece.

If the ex-banker’s return was deemed to have been voluntary, he would not be regarded as a flight risk and may have secured conditional release. Instead he is to remain in custody pending a scheduled appearance before an investigating magistrate on Monday.

Meanwhile another two suspects who face prosecution in connection to the TT unsecured loans probe – businessman Kyriakos Griveas and his wife Anastasia Vatsika – appeared in a London court hearing an appeal by Greek authorities for their extradition. The couple are to reappear in the same court on February 24. Although they deny the charges brought against them, according to sources they expressed readiness to cooperate with Greek authorities as soon as the legal process in the United Kingdom has been completed.

ekathimerini.com , Wednesday February 5, 2014 (20:13)  
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